Spring planting is always a hectic time for farmers; and a worldwide pandemic only amplifies the stress and uncertainty that accompanies the season.
“Planting season means long days and lots of unknowns for area farmers,” says Kevin Paap, president of Minnesota Farm Bureau “It’s critical we also take care of our health. Now more than ever we need all farmers and their families to stay well.”
The South Central Healthcare Coalition offers important tips for farmers to stay healthy and keep their operations going:
- Practice social distancing; at home, around the farm and out in the fields
- Limit non-essential visitors to your farm
- Keep sanitizing supplies handy and wash your hands frequently, especially before and after meals, handling farm products and activities with other people
- Clean and sanitize equipment after each use including controls of vehicles and machinery
- Use technology to communicate as much as possible. Use a phone to take a picture of a broken part and send it to the dealer. Call ahead to make sure parts are in stock and ask the dealer to place the part outside the door
- Make sure you have a written contingency plan in case you, a family member or one of your workers becomes sick, and share that plan with the people involved
“Farmers are the backbone of our community and our region,” says Paap “And many days, especially during long hours of planting season, the stress of being a farmer in these times can become almost too much. That’s why it’s important farmers know they’ve got someone they can talk to.”
The Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s free and confidential. The number to call is 833-600-2670.